A proposal in front of the New Hampshire legislature this month was Senate Bill 303. Senate Bill 303 clarifies language in the medical payment statute relative to payment of health insurance liens in personal injury cases. In every private health insurance policy is a provision involving a right of reimbursement, or “subrogation clause”. This clause states that if a person receives a judgment or settlement from someone relative to injuries they sustained, then the health insurer has a right to be reimbursed for any bills they paid related to those injuries. This is a complicated provision, so it is important to ensure you seek the advice of an attorney before trying to deal with this on your own.
The issue that was created by the initial version of RSA 264:16 was that the payment of private health insurance liens was never specifically mentioned in the statute. Auto insurers dealing with medical payment claims took the position that if a medical bill was paid by the health insurer, then that relieved them of their obligation to pay the bill except for any out of pocket costs like co-pays. Plaintiff’s attorneys in our office and elsewhere took the position that the private health insurer’s had to be paid back and that the statute prevented double recovery of a medical bill, and the auto insurer would be required to pay either the bill in full or to pay the private health insurer lien that is created through their subrogation clause in the contract. This created a number of issues with the Courts and led to fights between Plaintiff’s counsel representing the injured, and defense counsel representing the insurance companies.
Senate Bill 303 clarifies this language and reaffirms the intent of the legislature that the health insurance lien can be paid by the auto insurance medical payment carrier. While the bill has yet to be passed in full, we see this as a large step forward to protecting the rights of the insured and it is our hope it passes
At Parnell, Michels & McKay we have over four decades of combined experience in navigating the complex and difficult personal injury litigation cases with insurers. Coordination of your insurance benefits through the many statutes that regulate the insurance industry is just one of the major issues you may face. If you are injured in an unfortunate accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Parnell, Michels & McKay so we can help you navigate the complex insurance field and make sure your rights are protected.